Chapter 404 Three Don’t Say I’m Disqualified as Human
AN: I was a bit late. I’m sorry!
There was human silhouette advancing inside the slightly misty mountain with light footsteps.
It was a young man with a little girl that he made to sit on his arm.
Seen from the side, it was completely a problematic sight.
The girl’s kimono that was obviously a high quality article in a glance was very dirty, which made it looked even more problematic. This was completely a scene of kidnapping from outsider’s view.
「Should I be glad that we are in another world? Or should I lament that we got dragged into another world in the first place……」
Kousuke unconsciously whispered with a slightly distant gaze. Hinata who looked like very well mannered even while she was being carried like this tilted her head in puzzlement when she heard him.
It’s nothing, he replied with a wry smile. Kousuke was ruminating of Hinata’s circumstance that he heard from her on the way.
「Amnesia, a dream of your father arguing with an old man, being inside a mountain when you noticed, getting led by a white fox, huh……」
「Yes……I’m fully aware how unbelievable they sounds but……」
「No, I’m not doubting you. I told you my own circumstance already right?」
「You were in the middle of a school trip, and when you noticed, you were already in the middle of a torii corridor, was it? ……That sounds like a case of a spirited away person.」
「Yeah. Then perhaps Hinata-chan is also in the same boat like me? I don’t know what’s the deal with your amnesia though……」
Kousuke had also talked about his circumstance to some degree. Except about his circumstance at the returnee side.
After he got left alone in the middle of torii corridor, he kept walking for half a day through the long corridor that was clearly far longer than in reality no matter how he looked at it.
The stone paving and red toriis were extending endlessly without any change in scenery. It felt like he was not making any progress at all. The outside of the corridor was covered with mist, and even when he threw caution to the wind and tried charging daringly into the mist, he only ended up at his original spot.
It made Kousuke felt like he was hallucinating the scrapping sound of his sanity level getting whittled down after so long.
(I would be able to contact Emily at least if only my clone didn’t vanish though……)
Perhaps as to be only expected, his smartphone didn’t have any signal the whole time. His connection with the clone at Emily’s side was also severed.
But, unluckily, Emily must haven’t noticed that fact at this time. After all, right now she was inside the King Tree’s barrier.
That place was protected by perception obstruction and aura that made people unconsciously hesitated to approach using soul magic, and space magic to make the place invisible and isolated spatially. It was a sanctuary in the sense of being another world that was isolated from the outside.
Naturally, Kousuke’s clone would also get its connection with the main body dispelled the moment it entered inside. So usually his clone would be standing by at the city outside the forest.
Those were problems that he wanted to do something about eventually but……they had only gone to the tree’s location a few months ago, and it was an emergency measure to revive the fairy world, so Hajime still hadn’t time to work for the convenience of that place in that regard.
By the way, Emily was in that sanctuary because the King Tree’s revival was accompanied with the forest around it coming back to life, in addition even plants that didn’t exist before also came back to life and they seemed like they would be very useful for her medicine research.
Also, it was because a part of Hauria clan including Rana were moving into that place to temporarily reside there.
「I can’t possibly leave those people alone in such sacred ground!」
Those were Emily’s words. The sanctuary might get transformed into a haunted place that was brimming with lethal traps and chuuni-ness. I shall protect the important place of my home country! Such sense of mission seemed to be driving her.
Getting back to the topic.
After Kousuke silently walked without being able to contact the outside, he suddenly came out inside the mountain and encountered Hinata. That happened around thirty minutes ago.
Also, he was able to continue advancing because there was a “guidance”.
「I wonder where did the mister fox Hinata-chan mentioned run off to.」
「Endou-sama, you arrived to where I was because mister fox’s cry was guiding you, is that right?」
「Yeah. I felt like I heard animal’s cry from far away. But it didn’t show itself in front of me even once, and I also never heard a fox’s cry before so I’m not really sure that what I heard was really a fox though.」
「No, surely it was mister fox. There was no doubt that mister fox called Endou-sama for me who couldn’t move anymore from fatigue.」
Hinata spoke with conviction somewhere in her voice. She said that she didn’t have memory, but sometimes she would assert something with a strange confidence like this. It was the same when she decided to trust Kousuke and entrusted herself to him, and now too,
「Endou-sama. Your direction is shifting. Can you turn slightly more to the right?」
She was also showing him the way like this.
According to her, it seemed to be instinct. Apparently it was terribly hard for her to describe it in words, but Hinata said that she just somehow understood. Even now she was sensing the existence of an unseen guide.
(Well, she clearly has a circumstance, she must be someone special. It doesn’t seem like she is lying that she has amnesia, but just who in the world is she.)
Kousuke was pondering that while advancing through the dark mountain as Hinata’s vehicle. When he noticed, the trackless path was descending and he could see that they were going down the mountain.
「Even so, where did Hinata-chan get spirited away from?」
「That’s……wasn’t it, from Fushimi Inari Shrine too?」
「But, it’s strange if that was the case. The shrine should be in commotion when we arrived if there was a girl who vanished. But, I didn’t see a single police there you know?」
「It has been almost a day when I woke up here. I see. It’s strange that no commotion occurred then.」
「Right? That’s why――」
Kousuke suddenly stopped talking while they were discussing their thought with each other.
His movement stopped completely and his center of gravity lowered slightly.
Hinata was about to ask Kousuke what was the matter, however, her body trembled and her words got caught in her throat.
There were two reasons.
Because she felt some kind of unpleasant presence on her back. It felt like there was still some distance, but the presence was sending a chill into her back.
And then the other reason was,
「……They stopped moving? Are they observing us?」
Kousuke who seemed to have detected the presence faster than her had his expression changed completely.
His atmosphere just now as a normal high school student without any care in the world had vanished.
Seeing the way he changed was like if she found out that what she thought was just a wooden sword that was bought as a souvenir was actually nothing more a sheath that was hiding a famous katana――no, a legendary katana inside.
One beat, two beat. Time passed with tension that was making Hinata holding her breath filling the air thickly, then before long, the unpleasant presence vanished.
At the same time, kyuuun kyuuun an animal cry resounded from far away on their path ahead.
「Hinata-chan. That’s the cry that I heard. Is it the mister fox that you mentioned?」
「Eh? Ah, yes-」
「It sounds like it’s urging us to hurry. Perhaps it will be better if we quicken the pace a little.」
「That, seems to be the case.」
The legendary blade returned back to being a mass produced wooden sword again. Kousuke sighed while saying 「Yeah yeah, we are going there now」 and resumed walking. His figure was the very picture of an ordinary high school student.
The drastic change astounded Hinata. Agreeing with him was the best that she could do.
(Just what in the world are you……)
Question and strong interest welled up once again inside Hinata’s heart.
This person was really mysterious.
Even though he was smiling as though wanting to say complaints toward this nonsensical situation, for some reason he didn’t actually look troubled at the slightest.
It also wasn’t because he was acting strong because he was in front of a kid. He was acting very natural.
And yet, the sharpness that he displayed just now, it even made her heart inside to tighten.
Thinking really carefully, even though he had one of his hands full to carry her, he was advancing through the trackless path inside the mountain really smoothly. His sense of balance wasn’t normal.
Although he was an older male, he was still a student who wasn’t of age yet.
He felt like, a veteran warrior who had experienced overcoming carnages among carnages.
Hinata unconsciously started staring fixedly at Kousuke’s face from the side.
「Even so, just where is this mister fox trying to lead us.」
「No, it led me to Hinata-chan, so rather than me, perhaps it’s Hinata-chan that it want to lead to somewhere?」
「Perhaps it’s related with the presence just now.」
「Come to think of it, Hinata-chan. Were you alright with just now? The presence felt really unpleasant right? ……Hm? Hinata-chan?」
Kousuke who was immersed in his thought finally noticed Hinata’s state there.
That she was staring fixedly at him, her stare was ree~ally fixed on him as though she was trying to drill a hole into him.
There was no reaction. Her gaze was really fervent. He was carrying her on his arm, so the distance between their faces was extremely close.
In his head it was like his concern was growing arms and legs to be a personification and came approaching gradually……
Kousuke quickly grabbed Hinata’s arms and tried lifting her up above his head. He tried shaking her up and down a little. High hi~gh!
Hinata came back to her senses with that with a gasp and realized the state she was in. Her blank stare came back like a rehash from before.
「What are you doing?」
「N-no, you didn’t react so I thought that perhaps you will return if I shake you up.」
「I’m not a broken machine though.」
Even so, it was a fact that she was ignoring him. She was the one who was rude. Hinata bowed and said 「I was deep in thought. My apologizes」. It was a bit unfair how ephemeral she looked just from making her really pretty eyelashes trembling a little.
Kousuke put her back on his arm once more and tilted his head.
「Deep in thought?」
「Yes. Endou-sama is acting really composed, so I was wondering if you are really just a human――cough, just a student?」
「Say, is it really that questionable about me being a human?」
Kousuke’s eyes abruptly died. Hinata shook both her hands in a fluster.
「T-that was rude of me. How should I say it, mister fox too felt somewhat ephemeral and I would suddenly lose sight of it even though I was fully focused on it while guiding me, and I also felt something similar from somewhere inside Endou-sama……」
「Is that so……I’m, ephemeral huh……」
Kousuke’s presence was ephemeral. Even now it was like an ash floating unstably in the air that felt like it would suddenly vanish when the wind blew.
She said that with the intention of patching things up, but her words dealt an additional damage instead. Hinata covered her face with both hands as though to say 「Stupid me!」. But, as expected Hinata was a capable little girl.
A beat later her expression turned crisp. She put her hand on Kousuke’s arm that was carrying her and said.
「Endou-sama mentioned that you are working as a hero, so surely you must have overcome something that no normal student would ever experience. The way you keep your composure even in this kind of situation feels very reliable to me.」
「Ah, yeah. Thanks? Or rather, Hinata-chan, you are really a cleaver girl huh.」
「……I’m feeling a bit complicated if you treat me completely like a little kid like that.」
I’m certainly a little kid though…..she said while slightly pouting. Certainly, it was a childish gesture that she finally showed to him.
Then, while they were having such conversation, the surrounding changed.
「The mist cleared up?」
The moonlight was shining down on the mountain without anything blocking it. The brightness was increasing. They could see the surrounding more clearly.
Hinata flinched. Frown was formed between her eyebrows and her expression turned grim.
「What’s wrong? Ah, if you want to go to toile――I mean, if you want to go pick some flower」
「That’s not it.」
She replied crisply. She was a lady no matter how small she was. There was no doubt that she wanted to tell him to have some delicacy.
Although, she could appreciate how he immediately change his wording to a roundabout way. Surely it was the fruit of Emily’s education to him. After all Emily-chan was a girl who had blundered many times in front of Kousuke.
「I have a bad feeling.」
「……I can’t really feel any presence around though.」
「It’s not from the surrounding. Most likely……there is something undesirable ahead from here. I’m getting a feeling, like therte are several unpleasant presences there like from before this.」
「Did we get tricked by the mister fox?」
「No, I don’t think that’s the case.」
Surely the fox knew about this. Even so it wanted to bring Hinata here.
Surely there was no malice or ill will in that action. It did that because it was necessary.
「……Well, we can’t also just stay here forever.」
「Please be careful, Endou-sama. ……In the worst case, I ask you to please prioritize your own safety. Because unlike me, Endou-sama definitely has friends and families waiting for your return.」
Hinata showed a resolved expression. Kousuke closed his eyes slightly.
As expected, she wasn’t a mere little girl. Normally a young girl like her would get scared and clung on the adult. Even an adult would act the same.
And yet, this girl could worry about other person in this situation, and for someone who she had only met just now at that.
Just what kind of environment could raise a girl with a heart this strong and proper?
In any case, she was a good girl. Very much so.
She wasn’t a girl who could be allowed to die in this kind of inexplicable situation, in this place that was unknown by anybody.
That was why,
「Sorry but, I can’t follow that kind of instruction.」
He resolutely refused Hinata’s suggestion.
「Even you Hinata-chan has someone waiting for you back home. There is your Otou-san in your dream, and surely there also a lot of other people too.」
「That might be so but……if mister fox brought Endou-sama here for my sake, that means it was me who dragged Endou-sama into this. The school trip too, it might get cancelled because of Endou-sama’s disappearance. Even though you should be able to create important memories with your friends there……」
Hinata’s shoulders slumped in guilt. However, Kousuke only got a distant look to that.
「It’s fine it’s fine. There won’t be anyone who get worried for me anyway.」
「Endou-sama? Saying something like that is――」
「No, I’m not saying something like that because I’m in the age where society looks crooked to me or anything. ……I, don’t have any presence, so perhaps, nobody has even noticed that I’m gone right now.」
「There is no way something like that is……」
Hinata-chan stopped speaking there. Because, just like mister fox, it was a fact that for some reason she felt like this person didn’t have any presence.
「I am Endou Kousuke. A man whose name won’t be called in the roll call and get called by teacher for insufficient days of attendance despite having perfect attendance. Even when this school trip began, I got left behind by the bus you know!」
「Aa!? Endou-sama is turning even more ephemeral!? Your eyes are turning dead!? Please get a hold of yourself!」
「That’s why, there is nothing to worry about Hinata-chan. Everyone is surely enjoying their school trip without remembering something like my existence!」
「Please don’t cry Endou-sama!」
Hinata-chan used the sleeve of her kimono to kindly wipe the tear of sadness trickling down Kousuke’s cheek. She also patted his head saying good child good child to console him.
「Anyway! You don’t need to worry about my circumstance. You also don’t need to feel responsible, I also won’t leave you behind no matter what. I can’t do something terrifying like that.」
「Is that, something terrifying?」
The unpleasant presence from before was waiting ahead of them. Was there something that could be more terrifying than that? Hinata thought in puzzlement. Kousuke smiled at her.
It was a mysterious smile. It looked like a wry smile, like he was proud of something. The smile looked happy, but also looked troubled.
「If I do something like running away while leaving a kid behind……it will make my friends disappointed at me.」
That would be the most terrifying thing to him in the world, more than anything else.
He wanted to always be the Endou Kousuke that he could be proud of to his friends, to his important people.
He wanted to always be himself that could hold his head high toward his friends, to his important people.
That feeling was explicitly conveyed to her.
「……They must be wonderful friends.」
「Well, some of them are also scary in a sense though.」
The tension in the air was melted. Hinata unintentionally let out a chuckle.
At the same time, the surrounding cleared up all at once. A red torii suddenly appeared in front of the two.
Strangely, it was pitch black at the other side of the torii. Nothing could be seen there.
But, the fox’s cry kyuuun was coming from the other side of the torii.
Kousuke and Hinata looked at each other. A beat later, they nodded at each other and passed through the torii.
「It looks like a shrine somewhere.」
At the other side of the torii, there was the ground of a very old looking shrine. The shrine had rotten so much it looked like it could crumble anytime. The ground was also cracked roughly everywhere.
When they looked back, a large torii was standing tall there. The other side could be seen unlike before. But the scenery there wasn’t the mountain from where they came from, but a similarly ruined path and trees, and also some wooden houses.
The place was clearly completely different from the mountain they were in before.
「The sky look disgusting somehow huh……」
「The redness, it’s slightly too deep for it to be the color of dusk」
The sky should be described as “painted over with scarlet” rather than “burning red”. There were also black clouds hovering above. The air itself looked misty as though it was polluted with smog from somewhere. It was coiling and clinging stickily on the skin.
「Ah, mister fox!」
A presence came out from a slight distance away as though it only appeared there just now, then a cry echoed.
When they hurriedly turned their gaze to that direction, the white fox was there.
While its pure white fur was already conspicuous, from the way it was also shining faintly in the same color, certainly, it was understandable why Hinata would put her trust in it. It was vaguely giving off a divine atmosphere.
「Err, are you, the fox that called me here?」
Kousuke felt uneasy whether his words would connect to it while taking a step forward toward the white fox.
The white fox backed away with all its might! It was a very sharp and agile backstep.
Yes, it was like……something terrifying was approaching it, so it hurriedly ran away.
Even its golden eyes that were reflecting the moon looked somewhat scared. They were looking only at Kousuke with fears in them. I’ll die if I avert my gaze! Those eyes seemed to say that.
Kousuke stiffened like a rock.
Kousuke and the white fox stared at each other.
Hinata looked alternately at Kousuke and the white fox in bewilderment. And then, she slowly got down from Kousuke’s arm and quietly took distance from him,
And she muttered that.
「I’m human. I should be human you know……」
Kousuke-kun sounded like he lost a bit of confidence. He sat on the ground and hugged his knees while burying his face on them.
Hinata quietly approached him and patted his head again even while it looked like she was feeling a bit fearful.
The white fox also approached near. It wouldn’t approach Kousuke at all past a certain distance, but somehow it looked like it was making an apologetic expression.
「Mister fox. Is it your objective to bring me to this place? Why I don’t have my memories, and what happened to me, do you know anything about that mister fox?」
The white fox didn’t say anything. But, it looked like that was only because it couldn’t answer.
That could be seen from how it looked like it was scared of something but it was stirring like there was something frustrating it.
In exchange, the white fox turned around and headed toward the torii.
Then it sat there and waved its tail once, twice.
Its golden eyes were overflowing with intellect. Even without words, she understood what it wanted to convey to her.
「Yeah. Looks like it still hasn’t finished guiding us to somewhere huh.」
Kousuke overcame the sadness of being treated as a nonhuman by a nonhuman and a girl and stood up.
He made Hinata sat on his arm once more and left the ruined ground following the white fox’s guidance.
The white fox led the way while acting excessively conscious to every single movement that Kousuke made, in addition, it absolutely wouldn’t approach him closer past a certain distance. Like that they passed through the ruined path for a while.
They got out of the grove of trees, and ahead of there,
「Tsu, what is this place……」
Kousuke and Hinata held their breath.
A huge crimson gate entered their sight. The architectural style was similar to many of the shrines and Buddhist temples in Japan. Then from the gate there was a wall that was extending to the left and right for very, very long.
Behind it they also could see a townscape, though the place also looked old and rotten as expected. There were only wooden buildings that weren’t very tall there. There were also surprisingly a lot of toriis.
It was as though it was Japan of the ancient time……
「The scenery feels like something that I once saw in film or movie. The place looks like ancient Kyoto……」
Even while speaking his impression, he instantly raised his combat readiness due to the presence that was overflowing from their surrounding.
「Endou-sama! There are similar presences like before, but they are countless! Be careful!」
Hinata’s warning came a beat later.
Right after that, strange shaped people flooded out from the huge crimson gate, wall, grove of trees behind them, the paths at the left and right, and the other side of the gate.
They were enveloped in something that looked like faint black miasma. Some were shaped like animals, some were like human, and there were even some that were purely made from mist.
「Oi oi, what’s going on? Why are these guys here?」
He also caught sight of some familiar figures here and there. Endou raised a dry laugh. Hinata stared at him in bewilderment in response.
Her small hands were grabbing Kousuke’s collar tightly. Her body was also trembling. Her face was pale. Even a strong child like her still felt fear toward scary thing.
After all, what was tightening the encirclement around them as each second passed was,
「Sheesh, this should be Amanogawa’s job.」
Yes, because they were the residents of the fairy world――a group of apparitions.
「Hey, mister fox. Is this place the fairy world?」
Sure enough, the white fox slowly shook its head. As expected it could understand word.
And then, it ran forward and looked back invitingly, as though to urge them ahead.
「Endou-sama. They, aren’t approaching closer.」
「……Just like mister fox, they look like they are wary toward Endou-sama.」
「……Yeah, looks like it.」
「………………As I thought, Endou-sama is――」
「I’m telling you I’m human! About that, you don’t need to keep bringing it up don’t you!?」
Hinata-chan looked really curious whether he was really human or not.
Anyway, from a glance, with how they were clad in miasma, and with how murderous intent was filling their gazes, it didn’t look like they could be talked with no matter how he looked at them.
Their state was really similar with the crazed apparitions that he saw in the fairy world.
Even so, for some reason they were wary toward Kousuke and wouldn’t come any closer past a certain distance. In that respect, perhaps they were still in a better state than the apparitions of the fairy world seeing that their danger instinct was still working at the very least.
(It feels like they are still perceiving me normally even when I activate my stealth……is it because of Hinata-chan or the white fox?)
Kousuke pondered that before he shook his head and opened his mouth.
「They still keep coming. And it looks like some among them might forcefully rush here sooner or later. Hinata-chan, hold on tight. Mister fox, I’ll follow you so it’s okay for you to move now.」
Hinata tightly clung on Kousuke’s neck. The white fox nodded and started running.
Kousuke also started running smoothly while paying attention so that the white fox wouldn’t get out of the range where the apparitions were avoiding Kousuke.
They passed through the crimson gate quickly and ran through the wide main street.
Like Moses splitting the sea, the apparitions that were still showing up in increasing number even now parted to left and right. It was really a magnificent spectacle.
The white fox glanced back over its shoulder. It seemed to be checking whether Kousuke could still keep up even in this speed.
「It’s unknown how the “me barrier” will continue to be effective. Mister fox, you can speed up more. You can even take shortcut as long as it’s a place that human can pass through!」
The white fox showed a slight surprise at Kousuke’s composure. After that it raised its speed gradually, but Kousuke kept following right behind it with the distance not shortening or increasing at the slightest. The white fox got surprised again by that. It was only natural because its speed was already rivaling the sprint athlete of Olympic.
Seeing that, this time it turned right and leaped on a fence.
Kousuke also easily jumped after it.
It jumped to the roof without pause. It was also hopping over and over using trees and fences.
Even so, Kousuke didn’t fall behind at all. His expression was still composed.
「Amazing, you’re amazing, Kousuke-sama!」
「Because I’m human okay?」
The swift and agile movement that was like an acrobat made Hinata to show excitement that was befitting a girl her age.
Behind them the apparition group was following like a black muddy stream. Some of them were running side by side with them but……
It was then, it suddenly appeared. An apparition that attacked without avoiding Kousuke. As expected, it was one that he had seen before in the fairy world――an apparition with a shape like karasu tengu.
It aimed right at the moment Kousuke leaped down from a roof so there was nowhere for him to escape.
And so, Kousuke swung up his leg to use the recoil to change his falling speed. He twisted his body while dodging by stepping on the karasu tengu’s back.
He earned a flying distance using the improvised midair foothold while landing near the white fox that was making an astounded expression that seemed to say「This guy, he isn’t a human!」. And then he continued running as though nothing had happened.
「That’s not a human feat anymore!」
「Are you saying that intentionally!?」
Her fear from before had gone off to who know where. Hinata-chan was smiling like a child who was enjoying her first jet coaster experience. As expected this child had nerves of steel.
Also, she seemed to want to treat Kousuke as nonhuman no matter what……
They ran for around ten-odd minutes through the ruined ancient capital where roars of pandemonium rose from everywhere.
The place that came into view was also abnormal.
「Haa? Seimei Shrinee!?」
What he saw was a place that he thought to visit during the school trip’s free time.
What was odd was that even though the surrounding had the atmosphere like Kyoto in Heian period, only that place looked exactly like the modern Seimei Shrine that he saw in the guide book. Naturally, it wasn’t rotting or collapsing at all.
I don’t get what’s going on anymore! Kousuke screamed inside his heart, even so the white fox leaped into the torii, and immediately charged deeper into the shrine’s ground.
Perhaps the effect of the sense of avoidance was thinning, because a large snake and monkey apparitions leaped out from the left and right of the torii and attacked him.
He slid on the ground to dodge them while also passing the torii.
Right after that, the following apparitions crashed on an unseen wall that prevented them from passing the torii.
「Is that a barrier?」
「It looks like they can’t enter inside.」
Kousuke and Hinata kept their guard up against the resentful apparitions at the other side of the torii while heading deeper inside.
The modern Seimei Shrine had a straight path connecting the entrance torii to the four gods gate that was leading to the inside ground. Even though the path until here was just uncovered soil, the path here became asphalt path. It gave him a strange feeling.
Although, at both ends of that path, at the ground inside the shrine the path was suddenly cut off. From there ahead there was only uncovered soil on the ground.
It seemed that the shrine was becoming even more foreign even inside this already foreign world.
As they went deeper inside, the white fox stared at Hinata in relieve.
Kousuke gently put down Hinata.
「Mister fox, you are looking for me just as I thought aren’t you?」
The fox gave back a silent affirmation.
「I don’t have my memories. I don’t what I should do……」
「Don’t tell me, you aren’t going to ask her to be something like sacrifice or anything right?」
Kousuke’s gaze at the white fox narrowed slightly. The white fox strongly shook its head to left and right. And then, its gaze asked Hinata to come closer.
Originally, there should be a fence to prevent the tourists to go deeper. But there was no fence here and the path connected to the main shrine inside.
The air immediately changed as they entered there.
To describe it briefly, it was “pure”. The air they breathed in was surprisingly fresh. It felt like the inside of their lungs were cleansed.
The place in front of them looked like a stair and a stage. Deeper inside there was a place like an altar where two foxes were enshrined.
There, the white fox turned its gaze at Kousuke.
「Are you saying that this is as far as I go?」
That seemed to be the case. In front of the stair, Hinata looked up at Kousuke with a bit of anxiety.
「It’s alright. I don’t know what’s going to happen at all, but at the worst case, I can at least take away Hinata-chan and tear apart everything to escape.」
The tension left Hinata’s shoulders slightly. She then showed a resolute expression.
She tightened her jaw, straightened her back, and slowly climbed up the stairs.
Like that, she faced the white fox at the innermost place.
「Mister fox. I don’t know why are you bringing me here, but can you return Endou-sama and me to where we came from after your objective is fulfilled?」
The white fox looked like it wanted to say something, but it nodded.
With that, Hinata must have shaken off her last fear. She kneeled with seiza posture at the center of the stage beautifully and closed her eyes.
Right after that, kuaaann the white fox made a cry that sounded different from before.
A strong radiance was emitted from the white fox. Right after that, its form vanished to become white particles and flowed into Hinata like a river stream.
Intense light was radiated from Hinata.
Kousuke closed his eyes because of what happened.
Inside the radiant light, he could see it. Hinata’s long black hair was getting dyed white, and in the end she even had fox ears and tail popped out from her body.
But, he didn’t have any time to say anything about it.
Hinata started chanting something. Immediately after, a pillar of light pierced the sky. Light rippled and spread through the sky, as though to purify the redly painted sky and the dark clouds.